As promised, some better pics of my ST4. Seems the sun today on white paint = 'halo' effect though....
Impressions after a few short rides and one longer one = WHOOOOOOOSH!
This bike climbs very well, and (i know its a cliche) but a gear or two faster than others. On wide landrover tracks its just sit n pedal - on rougher bits (like Houndkirk tonight) it just flies up stuff.
Downhill is great as well - speed, speed, speed - again on easy but rough tracks like Houndkirk it just seems to have more than 110mm of travel - it feels like a short travel bike, until you jump or hit something really hard and it seems to have a reserve of travel somewhere. On the Plantation it was great - certainly didn't feel short of travel on the bigger bumps and steps. It sits up high in its travel - not much sag - reacts to small bumps well but you can tell its not dropping into bumps like a longer travel bike.
On steeper stuff DH you can feel the low BB - it turns brilliantly, and feels low. Not clipped a pedal yet. I preferred my 29er on really steep rocky / stepped bits - I think the big wheels are ace on steep steps/rocks!
The rear is a bit flexy when really pushed I think - especially shown up by the brilliantly directional F-120 QR15's - steering compared to my Reba 29's is staggeringly good - a couple of time I waited for the bike to twist onto a line, and it just carried on where the bars were pointing...
The mountain kins I am not sure of - they seem to slide/wash out a bit and seem bouncy on rocks.
The juicy 3's have a really bad 'grabby' spot on the front disc - I tried some cleaner today and it didn't do anything. Its so bad at slow speed you can feel the bike pitch back and forth as it grabs - and slides you around off-road...the rear is low on power as well
I reckon with some new tyres, and the brakes sorted it will be fabulous. To be 'perfect' a maxle rear would be great
Summary - did I say WHOOOOSH? Great on wide open, rocky stuff - I think it will be fabulous on somewhere like Corrieyairack / big hill stuff / big days out - without being wallowy.